Administrator & Alpha Bitch of the Wild Bunch
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Michigan, USA
Re: RE-Training for tug drive
You can try. If the drive is still there (genetically) and has been inhibited through raising and training, you may be able to get him to situationalize enough to the SchH field where he will express his drive there, even though he's been taught it isn't appropriate to express at home. It'll be tough though.
My advice would be to take him to a SchH club and have him evaluated. Maybe he'll be willing to play with a stranger away from home, even if he isn't willing to play with you. The club can also show you how to play with him properly and give you some tips and tricks to give you the best chance of success bringing his drive out again.
I'd also suggest buying or making a "puppy fishing pole". Its a larger, dog version of those cat toys with the toy on the end of a string attached to a pole.
This serves 2 main purposes, both of which will be important in your case. First, having the toy on the end of a string on the end of a pole allows you to very easily and without much effort get quick, random, jerkey movements... think scurrying bunny rabbit. These are the types of movements that are the most attractive to a dog's prey drive. Second, it also gets you out of the picture. The chasing and tugging happens a bit away from you, reducing your influence and any intimidation on your part. You can put pressure on and tug while being several feet away. This may help him get over his inhibition to playing with you, and once the behavior is built and he learns that it's ok and fun, you can gradually work your way closer so the two of you are playing tug more directly.
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